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CITY TRIBUNE

PBP’s kamikaze campaign crowns election of ‘firsts’

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One her bike . . . Cat Connolly arrives at the Galway West count centre. This was the first general election she reached a quota

Bradley Bytes – A Sort of Political Column with Dara Bradley 

Election 2020 threw up quite a few firsts in Galway West.
The constituency elected its first ever Shinner TD – Mairéad Farrell romped home with 14% of first preference votes. That means for the first time, Galway West is represented in Dáil Éireann by three women. Mervue’s Mairéad joins Catherine Connolly (Ind) and Hildegarde Naughton (FG), who were both returned. Forty-five years after the constituency’s first, and only other female TD, Máire Geoghegan Quinn broke the glass ceiling in a by-election win, Galway West is now the only constituency with a majority of women TDs.
Galway West elected three tall TDs in 2011 – Labour’s Derek Nolan, Fine Gael’s Seán Kyne (both 6ft 3” tall) and Brian Walsh (6ft). And Mairéad now has the distinction of being the first TD representing the constituency, who measured five-foot nothing. Or as Newstalk’s Seán Defoe put it: “Is Mairéad Farrell tiny or sitting down?”.
Cat Connolly became the first Galway West candidate to get an endorsement from veteran broadcaster and contrarian, Vincent Browne. The Claddagh Queen also broke 5,000 first preferences – by a long shot (5,439) – for the first time in this, her fourth General Election. On the 12th count, she reached the quota and had a surplus to redistribute for the first time ever.
Éamon Ó Cuív was the first – and only – Fianna Fáil candidate in this election who topped the poll in any of the 39 constituencies; and he was also the first FF TD who was subsequently elected to the first seat.
For first time ever, Labour’s share of the vote dipped below 3% in Galway West. Even at its previous lowest ebb in 1954 (3.1%), and again in 2016 when Derek Nolan lost a seat with just 5%, Labour always stayed about 3%. The ‘Red-Rose’ party had red faces as Níall McNelis polled just 2.6%.
But even that embarrassment paled into insignificance compared with the People Before Profit kamikaze campaign. Not only has it never happened in Galway West, but never before in the history of Irish elections has a political party issued a statement on polling day urging voters NOT to support their own candidate.
Most people planned not to vote for him anyway, but the PBP statement about Joe Loughnane was in response to a claim by his ex-partner – and Loughnane later confirmed and apologised – that he spat at her and smashed her smart-phone in an incident a year ago. It was Loughnane’s first general election – surely, it’s his last, too.

For more Bradley Bytes on Election 2020, see this week’s Galway City Tribune 

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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